Acupuncture, IVF and everything you should know about pregnancy after 40
Women do not remain fertile until menopause. At birth there are about one million follicles.
By puberty that number will have dropped to about 300,000. Of the follicles remaining at puberty, only about 300 will be ovulated during the reproductive years. A woman’s best reproductive years is in her twenties. Fertility gradually declines in the thirties, particularly after age 35. By age 40, a woman’s chance of natural conception is very slim. This has necessitated the use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) like In-vitro Fertilization (IVF), and Intra-Uterine Artificial Insemination(IUI). In-vitro Fertilization (IVF), refers to the process where a woman’s eggs are fertilized outside of her body in a laboratory and once embryos have been produced, they are transferred back into the uterus a few days later.
This treatment is usually recommended for women with absent, blocked or damaged fallopian tubes or in cases of unexplained infertility. When used in conjunction with IVF, acupuncture and other fertility therapies increases conception rates by a great percentage and even up to twenty-five percent.
A recent study from Tel Aviv University reports says that “When combining IUI with acupuncture treatments, 65.5 percent of the test group were able to conceive, compared with 39.4 percent of the control group, who received no herbal or acupuncture therapy.” The mere thoughts of having needle holes punched all over the body will make anyone cringe. If you are a needle phobic like me, I am sure you can resonate with the dread for needles. Listen to an acupuncturist describe the process, and you can feel your nerves being soothed already.
The process consists of the gentle insertion and stimulation of thin, disposable sterile needles at strategic points near the surface of the body. There are over 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body that connect with fourteen major pathways, called meridians. Chinese medicine practitioners believe that these meridians conduct energy, between the surface of the body and internal organs.
The relationship between the emotions, the body, and the Spirit is complex. Emotions such as anger, worry, sadness and grief, fear, and shock can alter the body’s hormonal system and cause diseases. Anxiety impairs the spleen, the kidney and the heart by weakening the spleen.
Anxiety can cause blood deficiency thus impacting upon fertility. Acupuncture helps to keep the normal flow of this energy unblocked, thereby increasing a couple’s chances of conceiving.
Acupuncture and stress.
One of the ways acupuncture infertility treatment increases fertility is by reducing stress, which is often a key factor in fertility for both men and women. Stress can also create spasms in both the fallopian tubes and the uterus, which can interfere with movement and implantation of a fertilized egg. In men, stress can alter sperm counts, motility, and cause impotence. Acupuncture infertility treatment counters the effects of stress and cortisol by releasing endorphins in the brain. Acupuncture can increase fertility by reducing stress, increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs and balancing the endocrine system.
Among many other benefits, acupuncture can provide better blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, creating a stronger chance for an egg to be nourished and carried to term.
Acupuncture and Pre-Natal & Post-Partum Care
Acupuncture can help with much more than just conception. It is a safe, proven reliable effective treatment for every stage of pregnancy. During the first trimester, acupuncture is one of the safest methods for relieving fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and constipation. During the second and third trimesters, acupuncture treatment helps relieve anxiety, swollen hands, sciatica or back pain, indigestion, ankles and feet, acid reflux, and insomnia. After delivery, acupuncture effectively relieves bloating, and helps increase milk supply and return to hormonal balance. Embarking on IVF or any assisted fertility treatment can be a very demanding and stressful experience, but the right physical and emotional support can lessen these stresses and strains and increase your chances of success.